The world's most unusual town gets a visit from the world's most notorious villain.
Anyone who paid a visit to Ratherston for the first time would most likely be very surprised to find that everyone that lived there believed there was nothing particularly interesting or outstanding in any way about their home. Rather, everyone that lived in Ratherston thought they lived in the most normal, uninteresting, and boring town in the whole world. The buildings, they felt, were not particularly tall nor short, elegant nor plain. The streets, they felt, were neither particularly straight nor windy, bumpy nor smooth. And the pie in their restaurants, they felt, was not any more particularly delicious than the pie found in restaurants anywhere else. The citizens of Ratherston believed there wasn’t a single thing in their town that was unique or original, outstanding or interesting. The shops on Common Place, the busiest street in town, were all very normal and boring in their minds. Jim’s Junk sold junk, Victoria’s vegetables sold vegetables, Nick’s Nick Nacks sold nick nacks, Betty’s Bells sold bells, Will’s Watcha-ma-call-its sold watcha-ma-call-its, and Zach’s Zebras sold sock puppets, which might seem odd except Zach was quite out of his mind and it is very normal for insane people to make small mistakes such as this. A visitor, of which Ratherston had very few, could browse the shops endlessly looking for something unique and would not even be able to find an “I heart Ratherston” T-shirt, where the “heart” is actually the shape of a heart and not the word spelled out. If this rare visitor for some odd reason decided they actually enjoyed their time in Ratherston, they might want to announce the fact by wearing one of these terribly ugly shirts to a party and forcing their friends and family to look at it. However, despite the fact that something as simple as an ugly T-shirt could solve the problem of unoriginality and uniqueness for the people of Ratherston, no one had ever thought to print such a terrible and obvious lie on a perfectly good T-shirt which had never done anything to deserve being treated in such an impolite fashion. However, without even their own unique ugly shirt, it is easy to understand why the citizens of Ratherston felt their home was rather drab, boring, and uninteresting; and why they felt anyone unfortunate enough to visit their drab, boring, and uninteresting town would rather run through a river without a rain coat or rollerblade on a road made of razors than return to Ratherston for another visit.
All of these things, however, are in no way true at all. Running through a river without a rain coat and rollerblading on a street made of razors are both very unpleasant and potentially harmful experiences. Anyone would likely much rather spend some time in Ratherston than attempt either of these things. Rather, the fact that Ratherston does not have very many visitors is simply because it is in fact the least normal place anyone has ever been too. A visitor walking down a particularly straight street might notice how all of the buildings around them were tall, but upon getting to the end of the street and realizing they had accidentally thrown away their wristwatch instead of their bubble gum might turn around to return to where they had come from only to realize all the buildings were now short and the road rather winding. Naturally this would cause anyone who is not familiar with a town to get hopelessly lost, and seeing as there are no hotels, motels, resorts, dormitories, bed-and-breakfasts, boarding houses, lodging houses, or rooming houses in Ratherston, no one ever stays for more than one day. Anyone who has ever been anywhere knows that one day is not long enough to learn your way around a town, especially when all the buildings and streets in that town are suspiciously unrecognizable. So most of Ratherston’s very, very few visitors tend to spend their very brief stay hopelessly, hopelessly lost.
Those who manage to find their way onto Common Place, however, find that their experience on Ratherston’s busiest street is anything but common place. They may notice in the window of Jim’s Junk some of the most beautiful and immaculate furniture they have ever laid eyes on and wonder to themselves why anyone selling such amazingly pretty things would consider them to be junk. They may stop and take a look at some of Victoria’s vegetables and feel a little at ease as decide they look like just normal tomatoes and carrots. However, should they decide to purchase a piece of celery, for example, they would be quite shocked to hear desperate screams of panic coming from their green snack as they tried to take a bite out of it. And if they are old they might be truly unfortunate should they decide to try the pie in any of the restaurants. There have been a total of five documented cases of Ratherston’s pie causing death by heart attack after visitors tasted the most amazingly delicious pie they could have ever imagined.
Those that did not die an untimely death due to incredibly tasty pie, however, often woke up the day after having visited Ratherston and decided that their trip had simply been a dream. After all, screaming vegetables and buildings that changed in appearance could not possibly actually exist. And if they did, the residents of such a place would not be living out their lives as if everything around them was completely normal and uninteresting. If such a place actually existed, they often tell themselves, it would be the most interesting and unique town in the world. Everyone would likely be coming to visit, but Ratherston they would recall, did not have a single hotel, motel, resort, dormitory, bed-and-breakfast, boarding house, lodging house, or rooming house for anyone to stay in. It simply did not make any sense at all, they often conclude, it must have simply been a dream. And so Ratherston was often considered to be nothing but a very big prank played by map makers, all though no could figure out why someone as pleasant as a map maker would want to play such a nasty joke on innocent travelers.
With these things in mind it is easy to see why Ratherston does not get visitors very often. Most people thought the town was either very dangerous or did not exist. So when a man walked into town on a Thursday that the townsfolk felt wasn’t particularly cloudy nor sunny, the people of Ratherston couldn’t help but take notice. “I don’t recall ever seeing that man in the coat, which isn’t particularly dark blue nor light blue before,” said Jim to a customer who was looking at a remarkably beautiful lamp completely covered in rare and expensive jewels with a sneer of disgust.
“I do say Jim, do you have anything in here that isn’t junk? Perhaps a- I do say, who is that gentleman who does not look particularly old nor young? I don’t believe I have met his acquaintance,” said Jim’s customer as he noticed the rare visitor to Ratherston.
“Who is that man that is neither particularly tall nor short? I have never seen him before,” Victoria said to one of her cucumbers.
“Aaaaaaaah!” screamed Victoria’s cucumber as she took a small nibble out of it. Which could have meant, “Ratherston doesn’t get many visitors, who is this man whos’ hair isn’t particularly long nor short?” or perhaps, “Oh no! Please, oh please, don’t eat me!”
If the citizens of Ratherston knew who the stranger who had found his way onto Common Place was, they all might have been as concerned for their safety as Victoria’s cucumber was about being eaten. If they knew what the man in the extremely dark blue coat who was walking into Will’s Watcha-ma-call-its would do, they would have all screamed, just like Victoria’s poor mid day snack had. For the rare visitor to Ratherston was about to teach its poor citizens a very unwanted and nasty lesson on the vile nature of villains.It is important to understand that a villain cannot be considered with the same malcontent of any normal criminal. Every town and city has thieves, vandals, blackmailers, con artists, trespassers, and various other forms of hooligans and miscreants. But there is a significant difference between these common vagabonds and a true villain. The reason a villain is so dastardly and so scary is because a villain is always the mastermind of an extremely dangerous and nefariously evil plot. Anyone who has ever been unfortunate enough to be around when an evil plot has come to fruition can attest that the consequences are always far greater than a thief stealing someone’s favorite rocking chair, a vandal painting an ugly picture of polo players on the side of their house, a black mailer threatening to tell their friends about their secret addiction to peanut butter cookies, a con artist tricking them into buying a useless set of rubber kitchen knives, or having a group of teenagers trespass into their back yard to throw a costume party. A villain’s plot tends to have terrible and lasting effects on everyone that is lucky enough to survive the secretive and sinister scheme. Although some say, that those who don’t survive, are actually the lucky ones. Because anyone who lives through the awful experience of a villainous plot does not do so unscathed. Their lives are always altered in terrible and gloomy ways and they tend to spend the rest of their days in great misfortune thinking back bitterly on the times before they fell victim to the plot of one of these awful people known as villains. In reality of course, the lucky ones are those who are not ensnared within the designs of a vile villain, the ones who live their lives never meeting, walking past, reading of, or even knowing about the existence of such a terrible thing as a true villain. A true villain, just like the man ringing the bell of Will’s Watcha-ma-call-its as he walked in the door.